Adobe extends Acrobat into collaboration

Adobe extends Acrobat into collaboration

Soon government workers will be able to add comments to Adobe Portable Document Format documents and use PDFs to collaborate, says Jonathan Knowles, technology strategist for Adobe Systems Inc.

The company has added collaboration features to Version 7 of its Acrobat PDF maker as well as Version 7 of its Adobe Reader viewer. Adobe will release both products by the end of the year, Knowles said.

PDF documents created with the new professional edition of Acrobat will let users add comments as they pass from person to person, Knowles said. Comments and highlights are saved within the PDF or can be exported to a Microsoft Word file.

Users do not need to have Acrobat to add comments, Knowles said. The new version of the Reader will allow the addition of highlighted text or virtual sticky notes once the originator of the document enables the capabilities within Acrobat.

By having users comment directly on a PDF, Knowles said, a project leader can eliminate the trouble of reconciling comments that come in multiple formats'e-mail, phone calls or word processing files.

By using Acrobat with Adobe LiveCycle software, available separately, a project leader can design a workflow to pass documents from one reviewer to the next in an established order. The workflow can either be used with an internal network or over a public network.

Besides the collaboration tools, the upgraded Adobe applications also offer other enhancements. The new PDF reader will encapsulate 3-D computer-aided design files, letting users move model drawings around for different perspectives within the viewer.

The Acrobat software offers an improved workspace for creating PDF files, Knowles said. A graphical user interface allows designers to assemble elements from multiple formats into one document, through drag-and-drop actions.

Knowles said a single PDF can hold text documents, sound files, motion imagery, Web pages, e-mail and other formats. As a result, use of a PDF file could eliminate the need to create a data compression file to package multiple documents in one file.

Acrobat 7 Professional, for both Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms, will cost approximately $449, with an upgrade to earlier versions available for $159. The Acrobat 7 Standard edition, which does not offer the collaboration capabilities, will run for $299, with upgrades available for $99. Version 7 of Adobe Reader will be available at no cost.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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